Institut Jean Nicod

Accueil > Séminaires/Colloques > Archives > Séminaires > 2019-2020 > Colloquium > Colloquiums


*Annulé* Markus Werning (Ruhr University Bochum)


"Neither Preservation, nor Imagination : Episodic Memory as a ’Prediction of the Past’ from Minimal Traces"

Vendredi 20 mars 2020 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

Abstract :

The current philosophical debate on memory is dominated by two camps. On one side, we face modified versions of the Causal Theory that hold on to the idea that remembering requires a memory trace that causally links the event of remembering to the event of perception and carries over representational content from the content of perception to the content of remembering. On the other side, a new camp of Simulationists is currently forming up. Motivated by empirical and conceptual deficits of the Causal Theory and its modifications, they reject, both, the necessity of preserving representational content and the necessity of a causal link between perception and memory. They argue that remembering is nothing, but a specific form of imagination, and differs from other forms only in that it has been reliably produced and is directed towards an episode of one’s personal past. Sharing the criticism of the Causal Theory and its demand for an intermediary carrier of representational content, I will argue that a causal connection to experience is, still, necessary to fulfill even the minimal requirements of past-directedness and reliability, accepted even by Simulationists. I will develop an account of minimal traces devoid of representational content and exploit an analogy to the predictive processing framework of perception. As perception can be regarded a prediction of the present on the basis of sparse sensory inputs without any representational content, episodic memory can be conceived of as a “prediction of the past” on the basis of a merely causal link to a previous experience. The resulting notion of episodic memory will be validated as a natural kind distinct from mere imaginary processes.


*Annulé* Wayne Wu (Carnegie Mellon University)


"Intention and Memory in (Mental) Action"

Vendredi 20 mars 2020 de 14h00 à 16h00

ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle Ribot, RDC

Abstract :

Intention is a crucial form of memory that is the basis of the agent’s ability to keep in intimate touch with their agency. To borrow terminology from John Searle, I shall focus on intentions-in-action. I argue that intention-in-action is working memory. This identity allows us to explain central aspects of agency. Focusing on mental agency, e.g. reasoning, thinking, recalling, and attending, I draw on intention as working memory to show how action itself is an expression of a capacity for practical thinking and how the agent can have non-observational access to what they are doing. These points will also reflect back on the science of working memory. If time, I hope to comment substantively about acting with skill, understanding as well as knowledge how.



*Annulé* Elisa Paganini (Università degli Studi di Milano)


"Equivocal Indeterminate Identity for Fictional Objects"

Vendredi 22 mai 2020 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

Abstract :

Whether there may be indeterminate identity has long been disputed among philosophers : Evans (1978) and Salmon (1982) argued that indeterminate identity is an incoherent notion, but there are strategies to resist their argument. This debate has been extended to fictional objects : Everett (2005) argued that fictional objects – were they real objects – would incur paradoxical indeterminate identity and this concern is used against realism on fictional objects. In this work, I focus on a special realist theory according to which the existence and identity of fictional objects depends on the mental activity of the authors (proposed by Evnine (2016)) and I claim that indeterminate identity is not problematic for such a theory (in contrast to Friedell (2019)).



Barbara Tversky (Columbia)

Vendredi 20 décembre 2019 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

"Putting Messy Thought in the World : Sketches and Perspective"


Designers begin with messy sketches, scientists with messy data. Scrutinizing the messiness can lead to reconfiguration and new ideas, a virtuous cycle that can be encouraged by perspective-taking.



Lisa Miracchi (University of Pennsylvania)

Vendredi 13 décembre 2019 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d’Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

"Generating Intelligence : How AI Can Make the Leap from Artifacts to Agnets"


While current AI technology has provided us with useful tools for accomplishing our aims, we have yet to build anything that plausibly has, and can robustly and autonomously execute, its own aims. I argue for a systematic approach to this project that respects the ways in which genuine agents behave differently form other kinds of systems. Not only do they exhibit different kinds of behavioral patterns, the variables that are appropriate for describing and systematizing their behavior are importantly different, and typically involve interactions at larger spatiotemporal scales. Any account of the psychology of artificial intelligenve - what it is for an artificial agent to have beliefs and desires - must therefore be updated to account for their role in behavior described with these different variables. I argue that this provides us with a more accurate and plausible account of the kinds of mental states and processes that we mst implement in artificial systems if they are to exhibit the kinds of robustness, flexibility, and autonomy that even relatively simple animals regularly demonstrate. I then show how the Generative Methodology I have developed elswhere can be employed to structure research into building such systems.



*Annulé* Panos Athanasopoulos (Lancaster University)


"Time perception through the language hourglass"

Mardi 25 février 2020 de 14h à 16h

ENS - 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris, salle L357/359

Abstract :

Time provides essential structure to human experience. People tend to talk about time using the spatial concepts of distance and quantity (Casasanto & Boroditsky, 2008). This tendency exhibits considerable crosslinguistic variation. The linguistic relativity hypothesis would hold that speakers of different languages are affected by this crosslinguistic variation in their psychophysical experience of time. In contrast, a universalist account of human cognition would claim that concepts like time are impervious to linguistic influence and so constant and invariable across humans. Here I will review a number of empirical lines of investigation into how spatial language and even writing direction may affect the sequential representation of time in the human mind, before focusing on duration perception. In English and Swedish, distance metaphors are typically used to convey temporal duration (i.e., long time/lång tid). In Greek and Spanish, duration is commonly expressed through quantity metaphors (i.e. poli ora/mucho tiempo, ‘much time’). In a series of experiments, we asked Swedish and Spanish speakers (and bilinguals) to estimate the duration of a growing line or a filling container. Contrary to the universalist account, we found language-specific interference : Swedish speakers were misled by stimulus length, and Spanish speakers were misled by stimulus size/quantity. Interestingly, Spanish-Swedish bilinguals performing the task in both languages showed different interference depending on language context. Finally, contrary to the linguistic relativity hypothesis, language interference was confined to difficult discriminations (i.e., when stimuli varied only subtly in duration and growth), and was eliminated when linguistic cues were removed from the task. Taken together, the findings point to an online malleable role of language in shaping time perception, as part of a highly adaptive computational system, in which language can serve both as a top-down and bottom-up source of information.